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Rise of the Halaal traveller Print

Global urban Muslims, highly educated, well-travelled, often with families spread across different continents, they are increasingly seeking out goods and services that respect and reflect their needs as Muslims. And this is no narrow niche - the worldwide Muslim population of around 1.8 billion is growing rapidly and is predicted to reach 30% of the global population by 2025.

Urban Muslims are increasingly flexing their consumer muscles and travel is just one sector where their money is beginning to count.

A recent study conducted by Dinar Standard, a US-based consultancy that tracks the Muslim lifestyle market, found that Muslims spent about 102bn euros (?85bn, $126bn) during their travels last year. In 2020 the corresponding figure is reckoned to reach 156bn euros (?122bn, $192bn).

The favourite destinations have been predominantly Islamic countries, such as Egypt, Malaysia, and Turkey. But now non-Islamic countries such as Australia are also waking up to this group of tourists.

Fazal Bahardeen, founder and CEO of Crescentrating, a Singapore-based organisation which ranks hotels and airports for their Muslim-friendly facilities, points out that Muslim travellers tend to travel in larger family groups, stay longer and spend more. No business can afford to ignore them.

With 60% of its population Muslim, Malaysia has taken a global lead in promoting halal goods and services.?[The] holiday resort in the seaside town of Port Dickson which is crescent-rated five, indicating that it offers a really Muslim-friendly holiday experience.

The Balinese-style luxury villas in the hotel complex reach out on stilts over the turquoise waters. Overlooking the Malacca Straits, with palm trees and golden sands all around, it's a picture postcard paradise.

Each villa has an arrow on the ceiling indicating the direction of Makkah, and copies of the Quraan are readily available. The hotel restaurant is not only halal, it does not serve alcohol either. The deluxe villas come with their own private indoor pool so Muslim women don't have to use the public pool.

There are prayer rooms on site as well as lots of wholesome family-friendly activities - and no adult movies on the in-room entertainment. The resort offers special Ramadan packages, with the pre-dawn breakfast and a buffet in the evening to end each day's fasting.

Not surprisingly the hotel is attracting Muslim holidaymakers from all over the world.

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